I wonder what their beef is with easy FTL travel. I think it's something that's totally acceptable by 90% of fantasy/sci-fi readers. I mena just look at Star Wars. Didn't slow it down any.
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What they've got against FTL travel, and against talking cats, is that they are shorthand symbols that a story is unlikely to be taking the approach they are looking for.
I'f you've read Clarkesworld at all, you'll know what I mean. I have read some pieces there that don't work at all (for me), and I've read some that are absolutely brilliant (Darja Malcolm-Clarke's "The Beacon" being the standout story). And that's just the reactionthey want; not for someone to come away with the impression that "yeah, those stories were OK/quie nice/fun", but to try and hit at least part of their readership, each issue, with a "wow, that was one of the best things I've read for ages".
I did not have time to pull the rest of these things into the story, but this should be a sure accepted story.....<g>
A boy and girl, carrying a talking sword who was explaining the article they saw in Scientific American three months ago, finds a talking cat.
"Thou art lucky as I am a libertarian who will save the world by shifting the planet to another star without any effort. Thou shalt end be several decades younger in technology and science, though everybody in the world will be the population of the planet."
"Thou shalt also have to deal with the end of time vampires, reincarnated Able, who will be leading rapist murdering cannibals in mesh stockings and leather. It shalt only end with the intestines of Cain spread across the landscape
I think the reason talking cats is specifically mentioned is that there are a lot of talking-cat-fantasy books, enough that it almost qualifies as it's own sub-genre. Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams comes to mind, and when I've glanced at the shelves at the bookstore there are quite a few more that I don't remember.
For some reason, I haven't seen any dog-fantasy stories. I'm not sure why, but I can guess. Perhaps because cats are stereotypically viewed as being more independent, while dogs are seen as subservient (which is often but not always true). If you had a stereotypical dog as the protagonist, he wouldn't be directing the action. He would do whatever his master told him to do, so that he could win the master's approval, which would make him a rather weak protagonist.
After going over the list, I don't think any of my recent stories, or attempts at stories, falls within any of the guidline no-nos. FTL is, I suppose, relatively easy in some of my stuff...but I usually just use it to deposit the characters where the story will happen, not as a story in itself. (Come to think of it, several of my stories imply that FTL has been abandoned, so maybe it's not so easy after all.)
On the other hand...I probably wouldn't like much of what Clarkesworld publishes, and I imagine they wouldn't like what I write. But I haven't read any of it. Might submit something, if they were a print mag and not an online one...and if I'd'a seen a copy of it beforehand so I could judge.
Rocert - do you have something against on-line magazines?
Clarkesworld pays 10c/word, which makes it one of the best paying markets out there, and is free to read on-line. Why would you not read a few stories, at least, to see if you felt it did match some of your material?
...I think I've hashed it out in a couple of posts around here before, but, what the hell...just so everybody's warned, a lot of people tend to get upset when I do this, so...
I got into this writing-and-submitting thing with the idea that I'd see my story published in a magazine, on paper, with pages, among the other stories. Online just doesn't do it for me---I've had stories up online in my Internet Fan Fiction day---and I also started a website where I've put up some of my older stories. What I want is traditional print publication.
As for money...well, say I sell them a two thousand word story at ten cents a word. That's two hundred dollars---and, in this phase of my life, that doesn't seem like a lot of money to me anymore. Especially with the effort I've put into it. (Not that the print publications pay better, it's just that you get, well, print publication.)
No, I can understand that to a great extent, I definitely get more buzz out of holding a physical magazine or book with my stories in it.
I think it may be a generational thing. Something physical has the feel of "legitimacy" to it, for someone like me who grew up before the very concept of "on-line publication" existed. To those who have grown up "connected", it may be very different - perhaps even reversed.
A print magazine will be readable two hundred years from now if the paper survives. Online stuff? No way. Between losing the file and upgrades and changes in the software, I see online as very ephemeral.
[This message has been edited by arriki (edited December 15, 2008).]